Friday, September 12, 2008

The Social Security Disability Claim Mess

I used to write more frequently about the social security disability backlog problem. The thing is, whether I write about the problem on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, the problem is still the same old problem---due to inadequate funding. Why is that? As I've said before, you can't do the job without the proper amount of manpower.

In short, you can't expect ever-increasing numbers of disability claims to be processed by SSA, and to make dents in huge backlogs without "more boots on the ground".

That, of course, means A) more field office social security Claims reps, B) more examiners (or at the very least, paying a decent wage for the job so disability determination services doesn't have a continual turnover of staff), and C) more hearing office support staff.

Recent information from the House Subcommittee on Social Security indicates that 1.3 million Americans are currently waiting on a disability decision. That number may comprise all cases, including those at the initial claim level, those at the reconsideration appeal level, and those at the hearing level. However, it is the hearing level that, understandably, captures the attention of most media reporting on this issue.

Here's whats the subcommittee had to say about disability hearing office performance: Productivity in hearing offices is often hindered by the lack of sufficient support staff (this, according to the inspector general's office was also the case back in 2005).

Duh. If you increase the number of ALJs (administrative law judges) at individual hearing offices (which, in limited fashion, they've done), but don't increase the number of support staff to actually get cases prepared for hearing, why should you expect to see productivity increases?

It boggles the mind, the sheer stupidity of government.

The reason, quite honestly, that we have such a huge mess in the social security disability (and SSI) program is that we essentially have idiots riding shotgun on these programs. Who are these idiots?

A) Members of Congress who don't seem to understand that without properly staffing SSA to meet its increasing demands (which means more funding), there will continue to be backlogs, backlogs that, at some point, will begin to affect the processing of retirement claims.

B) Upper management at the social security administration that doesn't understand the fact that the agency can't "technologize" itself out of it current problems. Electronic folders, video hearings, yadda yadda---none of it will pare down backlogs. That can only be done by having enough workers.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Social Security Disability and SSI, what is the difference?
Can I win my social security disability claim?


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